Black SIG P290 with boxes of ammo on a wood plank background

SIG’s Light 9mm, the P290

You should think carefully about the reasons for choosing a handgun. I do my best to test and review appropriate defensive handguns. And although the pistols may not be your choices, they are reasonable choices. With the explosion of concealed carry permits, many are carrying pocket pistols that give them more comfort than performance.

The SIG P226 Navy Model

Range Report: The Navy Model P226, MK 25

As a writer, I do my dead-level best to test and evaluate every firearm that crosses my desk in a professional manner, including extensive range testing. Many of the commercial firearms are new and unproven, even when based on a proven handgun design. Every modification and new idiom must be proofed. Occasionally, I encounter a firearm that is proven more so than the rest. And then, there are the legends. For legends, there is little I may do to add or detract from the firearm’s reputation with my own test program. That is the case with the Sig Sauer P226 MK 25 or Navy Model.

Black Rock Island compact 1911 on a gray-and-white woven background, barrel pointed to the right.

Range Report — Rock Island Compact 1911

Is there a best personal defense handgun? I doubt it; the competition is fierce, and many handguns have their good points. We also have personal needs and personal worst-case scenarios. As long as the handgun is a quality design, well executed with good reliability and is accurate and powerful enough for the task, the rest is up to you. My personal favorite carry gun is the 1911 single-action self-loader in .45 ACP. There are many variants, and while some are ironmongery, many are well made of good material.

Blue-toned box of Liberty 45 Acp + P ammunition with cartridges toward the front of the picture on a plank of wood.

Liberty Ammunition Range Report

When it comes to personal defense ammunition, the first criterion to meet is reliability. This criterion is closely followed by accuracy, clean burning and a good primer seal. That is the bottom line. No ballistic advantage is worth pursuing if the ammunition is not completely reliable.

Colt Commander, circa 1975.

The 1911 Pistol — Reliability and Accuracy

Today we see a great deal of revisionist history in the media, often tainted with rose-colored glasses and a personal agenda. Young people seem to demand more continuity from their comic book epics than from their history professors. However, when you level the criticisms and fallacies toward a firearm that has served Americans well for over 100 years it is more than irritating. When that same firearm has saved your life more than once, perhaps it is time for a report.

All black SIG P938 9mm subcompact handgun

9mm SIG Sauer P938 Review

On a recent trip to the shooting range, one of the female range officers brought me a SIG P938 and said, “Here girl, try this.” She proceeded to tell me it was her preferred carry gun and that she can conceal it anywhere on her body successfully. “It hides under anything!” she exclaimed as she pointed toward her chest.

Thompson1_BobCampbell

The Auto-Ordnance Thompson Carbine — Americana at its Finest

One of the most famous icons among American firearms is the Thompson submachine gun (SMG). Originally developed as a trench broom for use during the horrific battles of World War I, the Thompson was not fully developed until 1921, missing the Great War. However, it saw widespread use in America. Admittedly, both sides heavily used the Thompson SMG—with lines often blurred—during the Prohibition Era.

SIG SAUER Scorpion – Modern Battle Pistol with a Sting

SIG SAUER’s new Scorpion handgun takes the 1911 pistol a notch higher in performance and brings proven combat ability into the new century. The Scorpion is a far different pistol than the blue steel and walnut 1911 handguns many of us deployed in the past. The SIG looks different, performs differently and leaves little to be desired. It is definitely a 1911 to the marrow. The new SIG features a rugged corrosion and wear-resistant Cerakote finish. Cerakote is a proven ceramic finish that is low maintenance, resists wear and requires little lubrication.

A dark gray and silver LW frame .45 with a wood-grained grip lying on a gray blue background with a box of ammunition.

Taurus PT 1911 Range Report

Well into 100 years of service, the 1911 handgun is going strong and more popular than ever. When the 1911 was designed, intensive skilled labor and machine work was less expensive. Today high-end 1911 handguns are often prohibitively priced for many of us. Affordable 1911 handguns, with a forged frame and slide, are few and far between.

Walther P22 perched in crook of a tree

Range Report: The Walther P22

For many years, almost every .22 caliber rimfire self-loading pistol was a single-action design. Most did not use a hammer. Instead a firing pin in a bolt was utilized. An exception was the seldom seen, but very desirable, Walther PPK in .22 LR. While a good pistol, the Walther was expensive and sometimes finicky concerning ammunition and reliability. The subject of this report is a modern polymer frame double-action first shot pistol that is also desirable but affordable. The double-action first shot pistol has many good attributes for general use, particularly for outdoors use and personal defense as a house gun.

A black SAR 9mm with a box of PowerStrike Ammunition against a background of gray boards.

Allegiance Ammunition PowerStrike

For most of my service career, I was interested in a handgun load with a good balance of penetration and expansion. Penetration is the single most important factor in wound potential. Without adequate penetration, we have nothing. During the majority of this time, I also worked in rural areas.

Chiappa 1911-22 pistol with two magazines

Chiappa’s Affordable 1911-22

Sometimes you just have to have fun. The handgun covered in this report is among the all-time fun handguns to cross my path during the past 50 years of shooting.  It works, cracks off with every shot, is accurate enough for meaningful practice and would not be out-of-place hunting small game. That’s right, taking game. The .22 handgun is a great game getter. And just because the piece says ‘1911’ doesn’t mean it is a purely defensive and tactical handgun—far from it. The .45 ACP 1911 has taken its share of game animals and the 1911 .22s are well suited to outdoors use as well. While their primary use is recreational, do not short change a good .22.

B.E.A.R._0161

Range Report: Adcor Defense B.E.A.R. Elite

Editor’s Note: Prices noted in this article are as of July 26, 2013, and subject to change without notice.

In an accompanying story about the Army winding down its Individual Carbine Competition, one of the firearms listed in the ICC program was the Adcor Defense Brown Enhanced Automatic Rifle (B.E.A.R.), made by a small U.S. player compared to Beretta, FN, H&K, and other global arms giants. About a year ago, I had a chance to shoot a civilian semi-auto B.E.A.R. (#201-2040E) extensively, and after the experience, I bought one. It currently lists for $2,082.95 (#76044) at Cheaper Than Dirt!.